New ruling in case of deputy accused of excessive force and falsification

ASHTABULA, Ohio – The 11th District Court Of Appeals has reversed tampering with evidence, tampering with records, and dereliction of duty convictions against a former Ashtabula sheriff deputy and has ordered the case be sent back to the Ashtabula County Common Pleas Court.

The ruling was released Friday in the criminal case of James Truckey.

“We find Mr. Truckey’s convictions for tampering with evidence, tampering with records, and dereliction of duty are unsupported by sufficient evidence, and must be reversed,” the ruling states.

The appeals court, however, did affirm a misdemeanor assault conviction.

In 2017, Truckey was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three-years probation after being convicted. His sentence was stayed pending the appeal.

Truckey was fired from the department in 2016.

Prosecutors said Truckey struck Ed Dirrigl, who was handcuffed.

The assault was captured on body camera video.

Dirrigl has filed a lawsuit against Truckey and the sheriff’s office.

That suit is still pending.

“Truckey was convicted of assault, pursuant to R.C. 2903.13(A), which provides: “No person shall knowingly cause or attempt to cause physical harm to another or to another’s unborn.” The jury did not lose its way in finding him guilty of this. The body camera video alone proves that Mr. Truckey assaulted Mr. Dirrigl, causing him serious injury,” the appeals court ruling states.

“Thankful that the appeals court saw the injustice,” Truckey told FOX 8. “Remember. This started as an 11 count indictment with no investigation.”

He added he is going to appeal the ruling on the assault charge with the state Supreme Court, will file for his job back and file lawsuits against the county.

But Ashtabula County Prosecutor Nicholas Iarocci disagrees with Truckey’s statement.

“The jury spoke loud and clear, “ Iarocci said. “He aggressively assaulted a person in handcuffs. The Sheriff’s Office and any police agency cannot employ law enforcement officials who cause harm to others in that way. Truckey’s multiple unemployment and workers’ compensation claims have been repeatedly denied by the various deciding bodies because of his assaultive behavior.”

The prosecutor added that the “case from the beginning was about a law enforcement officer aggressively assaulting a person in custody who was handcuffed, all of which was captured on body cam video.Thankfully, Truckey will never be an Ashtabula County Sheriff’s deputy again and very likely will never serve in any type of law enforcement official capacity in the future as a result of the assault conviction.”

Iarocci stated a final decision has not been made about whether prosecutors will appeal the reversal of the tampering-related convictions.

Truckey’s attorney, Kimberly Corral, said her client had a “spot-less law enforcement record “ and served the community for 20 years.

“We are relieved that the 11th district upheld the law with regard to the tampering counts and will continue to pursue justice with regard to the misdemeanor assault,” Corral said. “Remember this case involved one strike, in a rapidly changing, violent high speed chase. Mr. Dirrigl’s co -defendant pled guilty to felonious assault on an officer because he and Dirrigl intentionally crushed Officer Truckey between his cruiser door on their atv. The United States and Ohio Supreme Court have determined that we should apply a different standard to officers because we ask them to go hands on with suspects everyday. Every officer involved with Mr. Dirrigl that evening was threatened enough to point a gun, deadly force, and he still refused to comply. A hand strike is the least force possible.”

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